“Oh! `darkly, deeply, beautifully blue’, / As someone somewhere sings about the sky.”
Welcome to the second week of Garden for Wildlife Month! This week, we are featuring backyard flora and fauna that are blue–a cool, soothing color. (Did you miss last week’s color? View the RED blog here.) Which of these blue beauties do you find in your backyard?
These photos were donated by past participants in the National Wildlife® Photo Contest. To enter your photos in this year’s contest, visit the contest site.
Source of bird facts: Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds
Like all other blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their jewel-like color comes instead from microscopic structures in the feathers that refract and reflect blue light, much like the airborne particles that cause the sky to look blue. (Photo: Steve Creek)
Bluebells have smooth gray-green foliage and nodding clusters of pink buds that open into light blue trumpet-shaped flowers. When they grow in masses, bluebells make a spectacular show. (Photo: Sandra Brooks-Mathers)
Outside of the breeding season the Tree Swallow congregates into enormous flocks and night roosts, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands. They gather about an hour before sunset at a roost site, forming a dense cloud. (Photo: Paul Lackey)
Eastern Bluebirds typically have more than one successful brood per year. Young produced in early nests usually leave their parents in summer, but young from later nests frequently stay with their parents over the winter. (Photo: James Alligood)
American Robin Eggs
An American Robin can produce three successful broods in one year. On average, though, only 40 percent of nests successfully produce young. Only 25 percent of those fledged young survive to November. (Photo: Laura Epps)
Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping to spread oak trees after the last glacial period. (Photo: Ray Whitt)
The Spicebush Swallowtail is a common black swallowtail butterfly found in North America, also known as the Green-Clouded butterfly. The swallowtails are unique in that even while feeding, they continue to flutter their wings. (Photo: Joyce Walton)
Great Blue Heron
Despite their impressive size, Great Blue Herons weigh only 5 to 6 pounds thanks in part to their hollow bones—a feature all birds share. The oldest Great Blue Heron, based on banding recovery, was 24 years old. (Photo: Steve Duffey)
The Blue Dasher is a dragonfly of the skimmer family. It is common and widely distributed in the United States. Although the species name P. longipennis means "long wings", the wings are not particularly long. (Photo: Bill Houghton)
Steller’s Jays have the dubious honor of being one of the most frequently misspelled names in all of bird watching. Up close, the bird’s dazzling mix of azure and blue is certainly stellar, but that’s not how you spell their name. (Photo: Lori Zappas)